What Kind of Music Should You Listen to at Work?

We’ve known since ancient times that music can make us more productive at work. Even the Romans knew this, which is why they went into battle to the sound of music. Centuries later, we were given the gift of Muzak which was designed to make office and factory workers more productive.

But what about for today’s working environments?  Mindlab International (never heard of them, but never mind) conducted some research into the kind of music that is best for the workplace. I quote from The Telegraph:

Classical music: if your work involves numbers or attention to detail

Workers were better at solving mathematical problems when listening to classical music, which improved accuracy by 12pc compared to listening to no music at all. Classical music was also the second best genre for general accuracy and spell-checking, the study found.

Pop music: if your work involves data entry or working to deadlines

Participants listening to pop music completed data entry tasks 58pc faster than when listening to no music at all. Pop was also found to be the best music genre for spell-checking quickly, and, alongside dance music, produced the fastest overall performance for getting work done. It cut mistakes by 14pc, compared to not listening to music.

Ambient music: if your work involves solving equations

Famously described by the musician Brian Eno as needing to be “as ignorable as it is interesting”, ambient music led to the highest level of accuracy for respondents completing tasks involving equations.

Dance music: if your work involves proof-reading and problem solving

This genre resulted in the highest overall accuracy and fastest performance across a range of work tasks. Participants listening to dance music produced more accurate results in spell-checking, solving equations and tackling tricky mathematical word problems, increased proof-reading speed by 20pc and and were able to complete abstract reasoning tasks more quickly.

Read the entire article here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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